Why “rich content” is central to your social media strategy

rich content

By Mark Schaefer

Today I’m going to explain that not all content is created equal … that there is a certain kind of content you MUST have in your marketing strategy. But first, I need to tell a story.

Several years ago I became interested in a company called Klout. They developed algorithms to assess the massive amounts of free data on the web to try to determine an individual’s relative level of web influence, a radical idea at the time. This was long before “influence marketing” was a thing and I called this new trend “social scoring.”

I wrote a post about it and it went viral. It was shared thousands of times and attracted 173 comments, many expressing disbelief that a company could do this.

Any way, about three weeks after I wrote this post I received a call from a reporter from the New York Times. She was doing research for an article on this new trend of influence marketing and found my article through a web search. She wanted to interview me for her paper. I was in a bit of shock but obviously agreed.

Her article featured me four times and was syndicated, meaning it appeared in newspapers all over the country and all over the world.

A lesson in rich content.

What’s the point of this story?

First — as you know by now — that there is only value in content if it “moves.” If my article had not received any attention from my readers, it’s unlikely the reporter would have found it on search. There was no inherent SEO value in my original post — I had invented the term social scoring — so the web activity alone led the reporter to me.

But there is a bigger lesson here.

Would I have been found by the New York Times reporter if I had only posted my ideas about social scoring on Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn?

The answer is obvious – no.

To have the opportunity for real authority on the web and vast reach, you need a certain type of content that has depth and breadth. Every organization active on the social web needs at least one source of “rich content:”

A blog.

A podcast.

A video series.

… and in some cases visual content like photography (certainly an organization like National Geographic would agree!)

A good starting point

Only in-depth, conversational content from at least one of these sources will provide the content fuel to give you a chance to reap the immense benefits from a social media strategy.

There are other possible secondary sources — photographic content, Slideshare presentations, perhaps a Pinterest page — but I think the three tried and true sources accessible to most businesses are blogs, podcasts, and video.

Once you make that decision and begin to execute, you’ll have the content behind you that powers whatever social media platforms you choose. A source of rich content provides something that is then shareable, conversational, and engaging for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social platforms.

So after you have a solid business and marketing strategy in place and you are ready to embark on this wonderful social media journey, I suggest your first question should be, “What is our source of rich content?”

Make sense?


SXSW 2016 3Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant. The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Illustration: A photograph I took in Fiji last year

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